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Old 09-22-2012, 09:47 PM   #1
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The house I just bought has a 200 amp panel in which all the breakers were missing. I am replacing this panel with a new one. (other issues with panel as well.) Anyway, how does one know what size breaker to use for each wire? Wires with black, red, neautral (white) and ground are 220 (correct?) How do yo I.D. the size wire in order to know the breaker size?

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Old 09-22-2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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Well the wires should be marked if individual wires. If cables it is marked on the outer jacket. There are wire gauges available which can help. Colors mean nothing. Judging by your question I think you will need a professional to wring this out for you. "Most" wires in a home are 10, 12 or 14ga. which require 30, 20, and 15 amp breakers respectively. It's NOT interchangeable. Post a picture of the panel.

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Old 09-22-2012, 10:00 PM   #3
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Amazon.com: Eurotool Pocket Size Wire Gauge Tool Measures Wire or Sheet Metal:
Something like this would help.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:57 PM   #4
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I have a house from the 1960's and my 15 amp wires has:

1. kind of teal/greenish scale sheathing
2. marked with "14/2 With Ground Type NM"
3. black, while and ground (ground wire is thinner than the others)

My 20 amp wires have:

1. kind of teal/greenish scale sheathing
2. marked with "12/2 With Ground Type NM" or "12/3 With Ground Type NM"
3. "12/2" wire has black, while and ground. Ground wire is again thinner than the others but overall they are stiffer and thicker than 14/2 wires
4. "12/3" also has a red wire

If I was not sure of the circuit size, I woud try what MB said, but I would also be cautious and install 15 amp breakers on all of them for the time being.

Good luck

PS. If it's new, the sheathing might be white (14 awg) or yellow (12 awg) but read the print on the sheathing to make sure

Last edited by allthumbsdiy; 09-22-2012 at 10:59 PM. Reason: added ps
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